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Starbucks voluntarily published the resolution with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in their third annual Civil Rights Assessment.

Starbucks resolves racial discrimination claims

The coffeehouse chain reached an agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to address alleged racial bias in internal employee promotions, according to their 2021 Civil Rights Assessment

Starbucks has resolved claims from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging unequal opportunities in store-level employee promotions based on race and national origin, pulled from data between 2007-2011, a letter from CEO Kevin Johnson to employees published Wednesday alongside Starbucks’ 2021 Civil Rights Assessment said.

In the letter, Johnson defended the company, saying that while they do not know what prompted the allegations and that their own systemic data does not reveal evidence of “system discrimination,” he knows they can “improve transparency around promotion opportunities.”

“I want to be very clear: racism and discrimination have no place at Starbucks. Not with customers. Not with partners,” Johnson said in the letter.

He continued on to note practical improvements the company will begin making to help promote open positions within the company to BIPOC and other vulnerable groups, including “new tools and technology to help non-retail leaders track their team’s progress towards BIPOC representation goals.”

Starbucks will also be launching an internal applicant tracking system from barista through store manager, to increase visibility of promotion opportunities and to make it easier for store employees to express interest in internal promotions. They are also having one-on-one conversations with every partner to make sure they’re aware of these opportunities.

The results of these allegations were published on the heels of multiple diversity and equity initiatives including a commitment in October to linking executive compensation to diversity goals and having a workforce of at least 30% BIPOC by 2025 and the promotion of Dennis Brockman to global chief inclusion and diversity officer (a position that was created after the company’s 2019 Civil Rights Assessment).

This is the third year that Starbucks has published a Civil Rights Assessment, which is audited by an external law firm led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, and based on an analysis of their training and policies, as well as interviews with employees.

Some diversity and inclusion recommendations from this year’s report include publishing periodic updates on efforts to monitor career progression, conducting an anonymous survey employees’ mental health, and developing a formal mentorship program.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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